An advisory panel of experts are giving the Japanese government the green light to move ahead with the declaration of a state of emergency. The measures will cover Tokyo and six other prefectures.
They come amid a rapid spread of the coronavirus in the capital and other major Japanese cities and an increase in the number of cases with untraceable infection routes.
Fears are rising that the country's healthcare system could be overwhelmed.
Nishimura Yasutoshi, the minister in charge of coronavirus measures explained why the government decided to shift its policy.
He said, "The number of days required to double the cumulative number of infected people is now less than 7 days. And the local medical system is in short supply. For these reasons, we received opinions that preparations should be made to declare a state of emergency."
The declaration will cover Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka. It is expected to be in place for about a month.
Members of both the Lower and Upper chambers of the Diet will get the chance to ask Prime Minister Abe Shinzo about the emergency declaration on Tuesday afternoon.
Abe will hold a news conference Tuesday evening to explain how people's lives will change and why the country needs stricter measures.
Governors in designated areas will be able to enact various independent measures on their own.
Tokyo Governor Koike Yuriko urged people to stay at home. She said, "I would like to end this fight in the shortest possible time. I'm asking for cooperation from all citizens."
Koike said people will be allowed to go out to buy food and medicine, as well as visit hospitals when the declaration is in place.
Public transportation will keep running. Businesses will be categorized into three groups: ones to close, ones asked to close, and ones that are essential.
Osaka is another designated area. Governor Yoshimura Hirofumi urged people not to lose control because of the sudden declaration.
He said, "We have food. Please do not hoard. Don't become panic buyers."
He said that the Osaka government will also ask citizens to stay home except for necessary outings.